Peter's Pages Peter's Pages
Film The Truman Show
Country USA
Director Peter Weir
Year 1998
Cast Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris
Details Colour 103 minutes
A profound film about film, TV, how we experience what we think reality is through what the camera shows us. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank who lives in a wonderful seaside town called Seaview. He has a great job, great friends, great wife, great house. The only thing he doesn't know is that his reality is false, everyone is his world is an actor, his entire universe is an artifice of Christof (played by Ed Harris) who is the mastermind of the hit Truman Show.

This isn't a story told from Truman's perspective. As viewers we know from the outset that Truman is in a goldfish bowl. We watch viewers inside the film watching the film / TV inside the film. Reality TV, the Truman Show inside this film, exists not because Christofs create them - they exists because viewers because we watch them. As much as Truman accepts the charade we do too - such as when Christof writes Truman's father back in after killing him off.

Christof defends Truman's goldfish bowl world as being a safe place, free from the deceit and violence in the real world. At the end of the film Truman has a choice whether to leave Christof's world or not. How real is the world Truman might escape to? How real is our real world? That's not an empty question - what we think we know is almost as managed as what Truman thinks he knows.

This is a well acted and well directed film, a quality film, standing above the many assembly-line efforts from Hollywood. There are marvellous moments in it, from Truman's wife doing her product placements, the surreality of spotlights falling from the sky, to the eerie hunt for Truman and the sun rising early. Jim Carrey gives a stand-out performance and Peter Weir masterfully directs.